Turkish police too busy to look into violence against women complaints: NGO

Turkish police too busy to look into violence against women complaints: NGO

Turkish police too busy to look into violence against women complaints: NGO

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Police have been “too busy” to look into complaints made by women subjected to violence since the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, according to a women’s rights NGO. 

The Foundation for Women’s Solidarity said many women have been told that police are “too busy addressing issues regarding the coup attempt,” daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 3. 

According to the foundation’s Consulting Center activity report, women who applied to the Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers, set up by the Family and Social Policies Ministry, were told that there are too many files regarding the foiled coup on the hands of the authorities. 

Some 465 women, of whom 336 were subjected to violence, applied to the foundation in 2016. Some 22 percent of the women’s children were also subjected to violence with their mothers. 

A majority of the women had applied unsuccessfully to institutions including prosecutor’s offices, courts, bar associations and legal assistance bureaus before applying to the foundation, it stated. 

The foundation also said many women who applied to the ministry’s Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers, which were established to “protect the family” and “prevent violence against women,” could not stand the bad conditions in the overcrowded shelters and within a short period of time. 

The report also featured examples of responses women received from authorities. According to one example, a woman told the police that she was subjected to sexual violence, to which the police allegedly replied by saying “It cannot be counted as rape if you are not a virgin.”

In another example, a woman who applied to the police after being sexually assaulted was not able to obtain any results due to her case being a “simple assault incident.”

“All of our files are filled with women subjected to violence. How can we look at all of them? Yours is a simple assault case,” the police allegedly told the victim.

In another case, a ministry-appointed psychiatrist reportedly used accusatory statements against a woman who had complained about violence. “Why didn’t you do anything until now? Did you only come to your senses after 25 years?” they allegedly said. 

The foundation’s report also stated that many women had retracted their complaints due to feeling under pressure or threatened. In one example of a response given to a woman who complained about violence from the man she was living with, the prosecutor’s office reportedly stated: “You are not officially married. Your child’s surname is the same as his father, not yours. If you don’t retract your complaint, I will formally hand the child over to his father.”